Outdoorsmans is an Arizona based company that produces hunting specific gear. Their products are designed and machined in-house. The company is made up of fellow hunters and people who spend a lot of time in rugged western environments. All of the Outdoorsman’s brand gear is made in the United States. Open since 1982, their tripod and optic solutions have gained a well-deserved reputation as some of the best in the hunting world. While not inexpensive by any means, their gear is priced fairly and you can build a quality tripod system for under $1000. If you think this sounds outrageously expensive, take a minute to look up some of the prices on European made tripod systems. Keep in mind, also, that the western hunt you booked probably costs at least a few thousand dollars. Price is certainly relative, but you can’t hunt what you don’t see. With a lifetime warranty and best of class durability, an Outdoorsmans tripod system ensures you will be spotting game successfully for decades to come.
To build a tripod system sufficient for glassing duties, you will need three basic components: The tripod, a fluid or pan head, and the adapter plate. You will also need to purchase a binocular adapter and stud if you want the ability to use binos with the tripod as well as a spotting scope.
The Outdoorsmans Tripod is $499. You have three different height options to choose from:
All three of the tripod sizes will go down to about 18″, so the main consideration when choosing a size is whether you like glassing while standing up and then your height. At 5’11” I went with the standard size and it works perfectly standing up tall with a spotting scope but is a couple inches short when using binoculars while standing. The tripods weigh 32 ounces, 44 ounces, and 49 ounces from compact to tall. Machined from high-quality aluminum the tripods are rock solid and easy to deploy. A set of two clasps deploys the extensions on each leg. The top of the leg features a push-button that allows the leg to swing completely open if you want to put the tripod low to the ground.
Choosing a fluid head for the tripod, there is more variability. There are three lightweight options and one full fluid head, but because it weighs over a pound we will just focus on the pistol grip, micro pan-head, and pan head. The lightest of the 3 is the micro pan head ($329), which is a mini fluid head weighing just 7.5 ounces. There is a lock lever to allow you to pan the head, and the handle is a twist lock which allows tilting. The pistol grip ($219) weighs in at almost 10 ounces and is basically a cylinder on a ball joint. Squeezing the cylinder handle unlocks the joint and allows you to either tilt or pan your optic. Rounding out the list is the pan head ($399), which is the closest of the three to a standard fluid head. It weighs in at 10.5 ounces and has a handle and two levers to unlock the tilt and pan. The general consensus is that the pistol grip is best for binoculars, the micro pan head better for spotting scopes up to 65mm, and the pan head for larger spotters. I run the micro pan head which provides a great and smooth action for the light 7.5 ounces it weighs.
If you are going to be using binoculars on the tripod, you will need a binocular adapter. Outdoorsmans makes arguably the best out there. It’s a two-piece system and you need the binocular adapter ($70) and a binocular stud ($20). Finally, you will want to pick up a couple of the 1/4″ ($20) quick release adapter plates for each of your optics. This will allow you to quickly switch between your spotting scope and binoculars on the fluid head. At about $1000 for the full system (tripod, pan head, bino adapter/stud, quick release plate), it seems like a spendy purchase, but the durability is top of the class and the weight savings will be well worth it while hiking up mountains and ridges. There are definitely cheaper options on the market, but at the end of the day, you will eventually need something like the Outdoorsmans which works well and doesn’t weigh your pack down too much.